Water Resources Study Material


Water Resources Study Material 

  • Water resources are natural resources of water that are potentially useful. Uses of water include agricultural, industrial, household, recreational and environmental activities. All living things require water to grow and reproduce.
  • 97% of the water on the Earth is salt water and only three percent is fresh water; slightly over two thirds of this is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps. The remaining unfrozen freshwater is found mainly as groundwater, with only a small fraction present above ground or in the air
  • The framework for allocating water resources to water users (where such a framework exists) is known as water rights.

Surface Water :

  • Surface water is water in a river, lakeor fresh water wetland. Surface water is naturally replenished by precipitation  and naturally lost through discharge to the oceans, evaporation, evapotranspiration and groundwater recharge.
  • Natural surface water can be augmented by importing surface water from another watershed through a canalor pipeline. It can also be artificially augmented from any of the other sources listed here, however in practice the quantities are negligible. Humans can also cause surface water to be “lost” (i.e. become unusable) through pollution.

Under river flow :

Throughout the course of a river, the total volume of water transported downstream will often be a combination of the visible free water flow together with a substantial contribution flowing through rocks and sediments that underlie the river and its floodplain called the hyporheic zone

Ground Water :

Groundwater is fresh water located in the subsurface pore space of soil and rocks. It is also water that is flowing within aquifers below the water table. Sometimes it is useful to make a distinction between groundwater that is closely associated with surface water and deep groundwater in an aquifer

Frozen Water :

  • Several schemes have been proposed to make use of icebergs as a water source, however to date this has only been done for research purposes. Glacier runoff is considered to be surface water.
  • The Himalayas, which are often called “The Roof of the World”, contain some of the most extensive and rough high altitude areas on Earth as well as the greatest area of glaciers and permafrost outside of the poles.

Desalination :

Desalination is an artificial process by which saline water (generally sea water) is converted to fresh water. The most common desalination processes are distillation and reverse osmosis. Desalination is currently expensive compared to most alternative sources of water, and only a very small fraction of total human use is satisfied by desalination. It is usually only economically practical for high-valued uses (such as household and industrial uses) in arid areas.


Agriculture :

It is estimated that 70% of worldwide water is used for irrigation, with 15-35% of irrigation withdrawals being unsustainable. It takes around 2,000 – 3,000 litres of water to produce enough food to satisfy one person’s daily dietary need. This is a considerable amount, when compared to that required for drinking, which is between two and five litres. To produce food for the now over 7 billion people who inhabit the planet today requires the water that would fill a canal ten metres deep, 100 metres wide and 2100 kilometres long.

Industries :

It is estimated that 22% of worldwide water is used in industry. Major industrial users include hydroelectric dams, thermoelectric power plants, which use water for cooling, ore and oil refineries, which use water in chemical processes, and manufacturing plants, which use water as a solvent. Water withdrawal can be very high for certain industries, but consumption is generally much lower than that of agriculture.

Environment :

Explicit environment water use is also a very small but growing percentage of total water use. Environmental water may include water stored in impoundments and released for environmental purposes (held environmental water), but more often is water retained in waterways through regulatory limits of abstraction. Environmental water usage includes watering of natural or artificial wetlands, artificial lakes intended to create wildlife habitat, fish ladders, and water releases from reservoirs timed to help fish spawn, or to restore more natural flow regimes.

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